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keep someone on tenterhooks

Fig. to keep someone in suspense. Don't keep me on tenterhooks! Tell me your news! We were all kept on tenterhooks waiting to find out what happened.
See also: keep, on, tenterhook

on tenterhooks

In a state of painful suspense, as in We were on tenterhooks all through the game, hoping against hope that our team would win . This expression alludes to hooks that formerly were used to hold newly woven cloth that was being stretched on a frame. Their name has long survived this method of manufacture. [Mid-1700s]
See also: on, tenterhook

on tenterhooks

If you are on tenterhooks, you are very nervous or excited, because you are keen to know what is going to happen. The market was on tenterhooks about the size of the rate cut. `It was a good match wasn't it? Very exciting.' — `Yes, we were on tenterhooks.' Note: In the past, when cloth had been woven, it was stretched on a frame called a tenter and held in place by hooks. The person's emotional state is being compared to the tension in the cloth.
See also: on, tenterhook

on tenterhooks

In a state of uneasiness, suspense, or anxiety.
See also: on, tenterhook
References in periodicals archive ?
Tenterhooks and Shining Orb were trained by Charles Elsey, and the Blue Line progeny by his son Bill, who said yesterday: "Lord Allendale was a very good owner to have in the yard, I couldn't have wished for better.
First-half goals from ex-Walsall defender Richard Green and top scorer Carlo Corazzin earned Northampton all three points, but lowly Exeter kept them on tenterhooks until the final whistle after former Blues striker Darren Rowbotham pulled a goal back.
DESIGN student Harbinder Bharath is on tenterhooks waiting to hear if she has secured a job in the fashion industry.
The English ace was on tenterhooks during last year's Open at Turnberry as his heavily-pregnant wife Joanne was set to give birth.
No doubt Rudolph and his friends must be on tenterhooks at the prospect of the current UK government contemplating "ringing" (not with bells) the whole of the UK with 7,000 inappropriate wind generators - will we need a government "think tank" (the best brains - ahem - in Britain) to ensure this will be no impediment to future toy deliveries to children across the UK - otherwise Santa will get very annoyed as this could be very serious stuff?
The spies are on tenterhooks when Iran agrees to suspend their uranium-enrichment programme.
VILLAGERS were on tenterhooks today as they waited to discover whether their green-fingered efforts have bagged them a top gardening prize.
Ferguson revealed: "They're all on tenterhooks here.
Rover's workforce has been on tenterhooks for months while the negotiations proceeded.
A source said: "It was cutting it down to the wire and organisers were on tenterhooks waiting to see if he would make it.
The couple are expecting a second girl and Alexander is on tenterhooks as the big moment approaches.
The question of who confronted the EastEnders' bad boy on his front steps kept fans, bookies and even the cast on tenterhooks for five weeks.
JOHN TERRY last night promised he would be fit for England's World Cup campaign after a four-hour scare that had left Fabio Capello on tenterhooks.
The audience were kept on tenterhooks and tuned in to see Tracy finally get her come-uppance.
Francis Murphy equalised and Tim Mouncey made it 2-1 in the 54th minute but Casey's 85th-minute penalty kept the home side on tenterhooks.